16th November 2014

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Draft targeted for 2014-11-02

Covers crowdfunding news from 2014-11-16 through 2014-11-02

TFC #39

Volunteers

Collect candidate projects: <NAME>

Nominate projects: <NAME> (others are welcome to chip in a suggestion or two)

Order nominated projects: <NAME>

Writing:

  • Intro:
  • What Happened: Speedster
  • Still in the Running: Speedster
  • New picks: scaine, flesk
  • Conclusion :

Graphics: Speedster

Working space

Nominated projects

Biggies

<PROJECTS OVER $100k>

Override

Unreal powered, mechwarrior-like, co-op, rampage through city, destructable terrain.

Technically not quite a biggie at $98k, but it's been a while since we covered a Biggie, so I'm nominating it (scaine).

Weather Zen

Developed for iPad as a spotlight, but Unity 4 and being tested on all major PC platforms, including Linux. Weird TD style game. Older development team. Main developer tragedy - lost wife and 2 children in 2007, this game being tributed to them.

Again, at $99k, not quite a Biggie, but to my mind, close enough!


Hidden Gems

1. Kelvin and the Infamous Machine silly time-traveling adventure, has demo available http://infamousmachine.com/demo/linux

2. Epic Manager Quirky RPG with some action elements. 680 backers! $18K CAD of $30k goal, 19 days left.

3. Ghosts'n'DJs Parody side-scroller in the style of Ghosts'n'Goblins. Linux demo available.

4. 2Dark survival horror game with voxel-based characters, by designer of the original survival horror Alone in the Dark




That Dragon, Cancer game about losing a child to cancer. It's early in the campaign though and is definitely going to make it, so maybe next time instead, since we already have a serious topic game in Weather Zen. (Yes, let's postpone for next time)

Article content

Intro paragraph

Welcome to TFC #39! Back to a fortnightly schedule and that timing turned out to be super important! Why? Well, we have some cracking titles to tell you about this time around and we would have risked missing them if we weren't back to speed on the writing front. It's been a while since we covered a Biggie in The Funding Crowd, and like buses, you wait for ages for one, then two come along at once! And keeping a nice symmetry, we have two very special Gems to reveal too.

What Happened

Losers

None yet... but only because the campaigns for most of our recent picks are still ongoing.

Winners

Gray Walkers: Purgatory blew through the first 4 stretch goals during the final 48 hours of the campaign, reaching $50k (including Paypal pledges). Backers of this post-apocalyptic RPG will thus be able to experience the storyline in Russian, German, French, Spanish, or even English; new gameplay features include vehicles and additional playable races (Wolfkin, HunterBorne, and FaeChilde).

Still in the Running

Let's start with the less hopeful among the previously-featured projects that are still ongoing. Not too much hope this time around for Air Brawl, despite being a promising-looking example of the relatively uncrowded genre of team-based air battles -- complete with trick flying. Likely the campaign suffered from choosing the unusual currency of Swedish Krona, making it look like a much more ambitious goal than it was ("350k of something-or-other I'm not familiar with" seems a lot more intimidating than "$47k"). HoloBunnies has also failed to pick up momentum yet, with only 30% funding heading into the final week.

In contrast, HM Spiffing has already managed to reach 78% pledged by over 550 eager adventure game fans, with the critical final 48-hour push yet to come. Kicktraq and Sidekick both agree that there is likely to be some celebration at BillyGoat Entertainment come November 21. The Aerannis campaign is already in stretch goal territory, currently working on the 3rd stretch goal with plenty of time to go.

Biggies

Override

Banner: http://i.imgur.com/obsrFgy.png Inline screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/y374oQc.gif Full-size screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/AFVApX0.gif

The recent robot box office hit, Pacific Rim, covered an interesting question - how do you control a human-shaped robot fluidly? It's a question that new indie studio, The Balance Inc, is hoping to address with their first game, the Unreal powered Override.

Details are hazy, but in effect, you control each limb separately, meaning that a four-way co-op must demonstrate considerable team work to do the simplest of tasks. How this works in single-player is addressed in the FAQ, where the team explain that additional layers of automation will be available to prevent the game from becoming frustrating. Missions will range from saving the city from enemy robot onslaught to simpler tasks like traffic control or saving a beached whale. Without stamping it into a mush, presumably, but there's an undercurrent in this Kickstarter that perhaps the team are toying with the morality mechanics too. Risar City might be yours to protect... or destroy.

The pledge levels are worth highlighting. You can get on board with Override for only $15, but an extra $10 will secure your name on the list of casualties that appear at the end of each level (and some other digital bonuses). The higher level tiers will even let you get involved in the design process, helping design the robots themselves, or even parts of the cityscape.

As a new studio, The Balance Inc need your help getting published on Steam. So if you're a Steam user, get clicking! If not, worry not - the Humble Store will hopefully carry the DRM-free release too. Failing that, DRM-free downloads will be made through their own website. The team are hoping to bring us Override in about a year's time with the alpha starting in March.

Weather Zen

Banner: http://i.imgur.com/BVNhwv4.jpg Inline screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/7boRdeK.png Full-size screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/7boRdeK.png (same, couldn't find bigger)

Weather Zen is a reverse tower defence akin to the Anomaly games. In the game a female monk must overcome rugged terrain and rough weather on a journey to restore balance to the elements. You aid the protagonist by studying the conditions ahead, before plotting out a route and planning for shelter on the way. Putting resources into strenghtening the heroine is also an option, and you won't know how successful your strategy is until you play out the turn and see how events unfold on the way. Help the monk reach her goal in as few turns and with as many resources left over as possible for an additional bonus.

The team behind the campaign consists of veterans in writing, design and game development with a wide range of projects under their collective belt. Krellware is a company that arose from a great personal tragedy when its founder, Dale Strickler, lost his wife and two daughters in a tragic car accident in 2007. The company and Weather Zen has served as a form of therapy to cope with this great loss.

One curious thing about the pledge tiers that immediately caught our attention is that the lowest game tier for Linux comes in at the $10 DRM free tier, while the corresponding tier for Windows and Mac is priced at $20. We asked the creator about the reasoning behind this unusual discrepancy.

"We expect Linux users to be [good at] managing their system [and] we like to support people who support Open Source." --Dale Strickler

We've heard of similar experiences from other developers and it's a vote of confidence we hope pays off. Of course it's also possible to pledge above this tier, as any pledge of $30 or more gives you the choice between the three PC platforms and the iPad version.

Hidden Gems

Kelvin and the Infamous Machine

Banner: http://i.imgur.com/mejmrO4.png Inline screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/Hcs650Z.gif Full-size screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/Hcs650Z.gif (same, couldn't find a bigger)

On the heels of Okam Studio's down-to-the-wire funding earlier this month, fellow Argentine developer Blyts makes its comeback to Kickstarter with their point-and-click adventure Kelvin and the Infamous Machine. Less than a week in, they've already reached a quarter of their $20,000 goal, and zoomed right past their previous total.

Their last attempt at crowd-funding, Inspire Me, was pitched as a game about a naughty kid, time travel, and history's great thinkers. This round the premise has changed a bit, and the plot instantly feels tighter. Kelvin and the Infamous Machine starts off when the crazy scientist Dr. Lupin, after being ridiculed for his time machine, goes on a spree through history to steal credit for the greatest works of time. Controlling his simple-minded but righteous assistant Kelvin, your task is to go after Lupin and stop him.

In the available demo you start off in 19th century Vienna, where Lupin already enjoys the fame which should rightly belong to Ludwig van Beethoven. The game is done with a simple but good-looking cartoon style, uses one-click controls, and a conventional looking inventory in the form of Kelvin's backpack. The puzzles in the demo are are none too complex, but feel like a good difficulty for the beginning of a point-and-click adventure. There's also a good amount of items to pick up or interact with, several characters to talk to and inventory combinations, so it's checking off all the right marks for an adventure game.

Epic Manager

Banner: http://i.imgur.com/B8IDhRS.png Inline screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/32ubUp1.gif Full-size screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/KVoPwQp.gif

Epic Manager, by new Montreal startup, ManaVoid, is gaining a lot of press attention. Yet, when you consider the quality of what they've already got to show *before* heading to Kickstarter, it's easy to see why. They think they're still a year away from delivering that is essentially a Tycoon game based on D&D. And yes, you read that right! This is a game about managing a roster of heroes and questing them indirectly in order to power them up to take on greater and greater quests.

And it looks beautiful. Graphically, the style is cartoon-based, but high quality, colourful and consistently presented. The class system is expansive, with 16 to choose from a multi-class system where you can transition one high level character to start of a new class and eventually become even more powerful as a result (how often they can do so is defined by their "Epicness" rating). Traits will give each hero a unique feel as you build your party by sending scouts into the world looking for potential heroes or epic quests.

But scouts aren't working for free, and neither are your heroes. And here's the Tycoon element, as you juggle heroes, scouts, quests, gold, fame and items in an effort to keep growing your party, your options and your success.

You can back Epic Manager, as nearly a thousand others have done, for only $15CAN, which is around $13 US dollars (or £8.50 in sterling). Another $10CAN will secure you Beta access in around August next year, with the full release game following around Christmas 2015. You can help Greenlight Epic Manager, but it will also be available DRM-free, albeit the delivery method is yet to be agreed.

2Dark

survival horror game with voxel-based characters, by designer of the original survival horror Alone in the Dark

scaine: I suggest leaving this out. If anyone decides to write it up before the publish cut-off tomorrow, then edit the Intro to reflect that we're not perfectly balanced with two biggies and two gems as I'd written it!

Conclusion

And we're done! Quality, not quantity, we hope you'll agree.

Usual plea for help:

Please PM one of the team: (scaine, Speedster, and muntdefems and new recruit flesk) if you think you can help or just want to chat about Crowdfunding! And of course, remember that you can use the comments, Wiki, forums, or direct messages (PMs) to keep us up updated on any suggestions that you'd like to see covered.

So why are you still reading?! Get your wallets out and go get pledging... these games aren't going to make themselves!

See you next time!

New-pick banners

Banner Height = 125px

Banner Width = 300px ± ~25px

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